Jurors have voted to keep the death penalty open for James Holmes, who was convicted last month of murdering 12 people during a 2012 screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Co. The trial will now move to the third phase of the sentencing phase, during which jurors will decide if Holmes receives the death penalty or is sentenced to life in prison.
This month was supposed to represent some sort of closure for Aurora, Colo., with the Cinemark that was the site of last summer's mass shooting set to reopen on Jan. 17 in a ceremony attended by the town's mayor and the state's governor. Instead it could also be marked by tragedy: police believe a gunman there is currently holding three or four hostages in a town house.
Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams is America's least necessary cultural critic. Reading a Mary Elizabeth Williams column on any topic in the news is like sticking a needle full of SUPER SWEET SUGAR WATER in your veins and pushing the plunger until you say "Blaaaauuurrrrgghhhhpablumpablum." Does Mary Elizabeth Williams have something unnecessary—so unnecessary that it would have been a net gain to humanity to say nothing at all—to say on the topic of our recent Very Sad Aurora Movie Theater Shooting Tragedy? Yes of course she does. If you had hoped to avoid it, you lose.
Here's something that almost all the mass killers of the last fifteen years or so have in common: they've been called "nerds." James Holmes, who allegedly murdered 12 people in a crowded Colorado movie theater on Friday morning, was described as a "nerd" by his uncle within hours of the shooting. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is, in the Telegraph, a "puffy-faced computer game nerd." Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were "innocuous nerds," the Los Angeles Times claimed in 1999.